Archive for May, 2011

 

Memorial Day Tragedy – Surviving Iraq, Killed by Police State at Home

In a sobering reflection this Memorial Day, Iowa Freedom Report turns our site to former columnist and Navy veteran Will Johnson who looks at the treatment of our veterans at the hands of government.

Iraq veteran Jose Huerena of Arizona was killed by government agents during a no-knock drug raid. Photo from www.oathkeepers.org

A Memorial Day to Remember

     As often happens on national holidays people will be celebrating with friends and family something of significance.  Memorial Day has been our way of remembering the sacrifices of the military community both past and present.  Today’s remembrance brings to question just how much we respect those that wear the uniform.  We are accustomed to hearing of their death, wounding, and family hardships endured as part of this service as they are placed in harms way overseas.  Americans are currently debating the wisdom of extended military presence in hostile territory with some on both sides of the issue.  One thing that almost everyone agrees on though is the need to treat these veterans with dignity which is what makes this Memorial Day so special.

     This Memorial Day should be a very real reflection for us as a society when the very veterans that we so venerate are targeted by our own government as “potential domestic terrorists”.  Isn’t it bad enough that they have to endure mental, physical, and emotional distress abroad only to have to come back home to a society that looks the other way when they are treated as terrorist suspects by being groped, searched, and manhandled at airports and national monuments?  This past week Adam Kokesh, an Iraq tour Marine veteran was body slammed, choked, and arrested by U.S. Park Police in D.C. at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial apparently for dancing.  During this debacle Adam did not retaliate and kept his stoic composure as he was being throttled on the ground.  Undoubtedly there will be an investigation into the actions of these officers but the bigger question is what would the average citizen have done if they were there to witness this treatment of a Fallujah veteran? 

     Another name that will be memorialized is Marine veteran Jose Guerena who served 2 tours in Iraq.  Jose was shot and killed during a no-knock S.W.A.T. raid of his home on May 5th of this year.  The only warning he had of this raid was a car alarm that was accidentally set off by the bumbling S.W.A.T. team as they approached the door.  The headcam of one of the officers clearly shows the team breaking down the door and firing into the home just after entry.  Jose who had been awoken by his wife had just come off of a 12 hour shift at a mine where he worked and only had 2 hours of sleep when the invasion occurred.  Home invasions had taken place recently in that neighborhood and the invaders claimed to be various elements of Law Enforcement to gain entry to the homes. Two members of his wife’s sister-in-law’s family had recently been killed during a home invasion in 2010.  When Jose’s wife heard some commotion she woke Jose up and hid with their child as Jose armed himself with an AR-15.  Jose had been shot 60 times and had not fired a single bullet.  Not only had Jose not fired his weapon but the Sheriff’s office reported that the safety was still engaged on his rifle.  This no-knock invasion was part of a drug raid that had targeted several other homes and this home just happened to have a Marine veteran who knew what the 2nd Amendment was for. 

     There will be a Memorial for Marine veteran Jose Guerena on Memorial Day that will be held by the Oath Keepers.  Jose was not given a military funeral and was buried in haste in Mexico next to his mother’s grave.  The Oath Keepers will be honoring this fallen individual as his death was not only senseless but a wake up call to the rest of America that when we remember our military who serve to protect us, perhaps we should be vigilant to protect them.

     As a Navy veteran of the Intelligence community I appreciate the respect afforded our nation’s service members and believe that to be in the military truly is to serve.  Since we are but servants of the citizens we all should be afforded the same level of dignity and respect that we would want the next generation to emulate.  Let us realize that liberty and freedom unjustly lost for one, is lost for all.  Our Memorial Day let us remember how our service members believed they were making a difference against tyranny abroad and not let them down by allowing tyranny at home.

William A. Johnson

 
 
 

Braley Betrays Obama on War, but King and Bachmann Have Pres’s Back on Patriot Act

The Butcher of Benghazi’s plan for permanent occupation of Afghanistan just lost one more supporter from within his Democrat Party today, but so-called “tea party” Congresscritters Steve King (R-IA) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) rushed across party lines to the aid the President’s quest for domestic spying powers.

Congressman Bruce Braley of the 1st District released a statement today calling for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan with a goal of bringing all troops home within the year.  Said Braley:

“I believe the time has come for us to begin an immediate withdrawal of our combat troops from Afghanistan – with the goal of having them home by the end of 2011. This isn’t a decision I came to lightly, but one that I have struggled with for some time. Our justifications for going into Afghanistan are no longer valid, and meanwhile, the costs – both human and financial – of continuing this war are just too high.”

It had long been the intention of the late terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to bleed the US dry of manpower and money by entangling them in a long term Afghan ground war.  For a decade Democrats and Republicans happily played along, but with bin Laden dead, there has come an opportunity to re-consider whether our foreign policy should be dictated to us by a sworn enemy or guided by traditional American principles and interests.  Interventionists continue to grasp at straws like building schools for girls or cell phone usage rates to justify their neo-imperial designs but they’ve been dealt a new blow with Congressman Braley defecting to the peace camp.

But this week wasn’t all bad news for Obama.  As he lost one of his own party to a signature program, several others rushed in to help bolster another priority.  Iowa Congressman Steve King and former Iowan Michele Bachmann were among those signing on to a Harry Reid-Bailout Boehner deal push through the Patriot Act renewal with minimal debate.  Senator Rand Paul lead a heroic filibuster, but in the end the statists had the votes to give Obama want he wanted.  Potential Presidential candidate Bachmann took to the House floor to justify her action after many supporters, no doubt encouraged by her recent conversion to limited government, took to her facebook page and phone lines to urge her to vote no.  Said the Congesswoman, “I think government is too big, I think we intervene too much in people’s lives; I certainly don’t want to give the government the unfettered right to go on in and access my personal private records.”  Yet she voted the opposite.

King echoed the sentiment in a Politico editorial claiming the Act “fit Tea Party standards.”  We were unable to verify which Tea Party group is calling for an substantial increase in government’s traditional intelligence powers or which Tea Party leaders and urging the Obama administration to rifle through their business records.  When the Tea Party started in 2007, it was based on a return to government by the Constitution.  The 4th Amendment is not considered an exception to that standard by most Tea Party activists.  Mr. King has bucked his party for the better in the past, such as endorsing freedom candidate Tom Tancredo of the Constitution Party over a Republican candidate, but in his deep red district, he may have a tough time explaining his alliance with Harry Reid on this one.

 
 
 

Ron Paul Endorsed by Glen Massie, Returns to Mason City

State Rep. Glen Massie shakes hands with Congressman Ron Paul after giving his formal endorsement. Paul's campaign co-chairs Dr. Drew Ivers, David Fischer, and AJ Spiker look on. Photo courtesy of AJ Spiker.

Ron Paul’s Iowa campaign continues to roll on this week as Dr. Paul was at his office in Ankeny Monday where he announced additions to his campaign team.  While there, he also picked up the official endorsement of State Representative Glen Massie.  Massie cut his political teeth on the Paul campaign in 2008 before winning the open seat in the Des Moines suburbs that was vacated when Iowa’s Champion of the Constitution Minus the 4th Amendment, Kent Sorenson moved up to the Senate.

In a statement released by the Paul campaign, Massie said, “It is a distinct privilege and honor to endorse Ron Paul for President of the United States, I have admired Ron Paul for a number of years for being a principled statesman who has faithfully kept his word to uphold the Constitution of this great country.”  Dr. Paul’s highest-ranking Iowa political endorsements in 2008 came from a retired county sheriff and a small-town city councilman.  Having a legislator in his camp is a sign both of Paul’s increasing popularity and a testimony to the efforts of the freedom movement to compete and win in the political arena.

Another Iowan who should be in the legislature also announced yesterday that he will be hosting Dr. Paul in Mason City.  James Mills shared the stage with the good doctor during his silver-medal winning Senate campaign in 2010 and currently serves as the CD-4 co-chair of Paul’s campaign.  Mills and local supporters will welcome Dr. Paul back to the Rose Bowl lanes on Tuesday, May 31st from 12-1.  No other Iowa stops have been announced for the day.

 
 
 

Caucus Watch: Paul Staffs Up, Johnson to Skip Straw Poll?

Congressman Ron Paul was back in Iowa this week to announce several additions to his staff.  To go along with three state co-chairs and five paid staff members, the good Doctor added co-chairs in each of the state’s four Congressional districts.  All are veterans of the 2008 caucuses and active in Iowa’s Campaign for Liberty.  Several have run for office themselves in the last few years and a few have held positions in the state or their county GOP.  The Register story linked above has the full biographies but we’ll list the names below:

1st District

Will Johnson – 2010 candidate for Congress and former Iowa Freedom Report columnist

Dr. Michael Allen – an expert in Austrian economics who has spoken at many tea party groups

2nd District

Marcus Felder – active in his local Republican party

Roger Barr – former head of Republican Liberty Caucus’s Iowa chapter and a 2008 RNC delegate

3rd District

Matt Devries – Campaign for Liberty leader from Ankeny and briefly a State Senate candidate in a special election

John Kabitzke – National Guard veteran and county central committee member

4th District

James Mills – 2010 State Senate candidate, Dr. Paul campaigned for him in Mason City last fall

Tom German – farmer and food choice advocate, was a leader in efforts to legalize milk in Iowa

While Dr. Paul’s campaign moves full steam ahead, its been a rough week for the other freedom candidate in the race.  Governor Gary Johnson earned a major endorsement from Willie Nelson, then lost it, then got it back (sort of); then his PAC was suspended for failing to meet a filing deadline; and now this.  The Republican Party of Iowa held a walk-through of Hilton Coliseum last Thursday to familiarize each potential campaign with the procedure.  Nine campaigns showed up, including reps for as-yet-unannounced candidates like Patriot Act supporter Michele Bachmann, but Governor Johnson’s was not among them.  Lest you think the RPI deliberately excluded Johnson, consider the fact that culture-warring fringe candidates Fred Karger and Roy Moore were represented.  Iowa Freedom Report was contacted by a purported representative of Johnson after the fact, but if the campaign can’t pick up the phone to ask a supporter to simply take notes at meeting, its hard to imagine them being able to engineer a caucus upset.  We have it on good authority that Johnson will likely focus the majority of his efforts on New Hampshire (where he announced) and Florida (the first “big state” primary, where he has made several visits) rather than Iowa but if last week is any indication he may be taking a pass on our state altogether (except for riding RAGBRAI, which he’d likely do regardless of what political race he’s in).

The Iowa Republican article also confirmed what many had long feared, that freedom Senator Kent Sorenson has gone over to the dark side.  He was at the meeting to represent Michele Bachmann, who has grown in popularity since embracing free market economics after 2009 but whose votes in favor of the Patriot Act show she’s as of yet unfit to represent small government Republicans.  Bachmann has also committed at the least a faux pas and at the most a breach of trust.  According to sources at the Daily Paul, Bachmann is using a list either purchased from or donated by Dr. Paul that she acquired when he endorsed her re-election in 2010 to organize her run against him.  As for Sorenson, now that his support for Bachmann is quasi-official, we’ll change our references to him from “Iowa’s Champion of the Constitution” to “Iowa’s Champion of the Constitution Except for That Pesky 4th Amendment Thing.”  It is a bit odd that a conservative small businessman like Sorenson would support someone who wants Obama’s administration to be able to rifle through his business records, but politics does make for some strange bedfellows.

 
 
 

Ron Paul Playing to Win at Straw Poll

It looks like Congressman Ron Paul is out to prove in his newest White House run that the third time may just be the charm.  During Paul’s 2008 campaign, he largely stayed out of Iowa, allowing the grassroots to scrap out what they could in a tough environment and against a full field of neoconservatives.  This year, Paul has been a regular presence in our state and appears to be putting serious resources into the effort.  First, Dr. Paul announced his exploratory committee in Des Moines.  Then earlier this week he opened his first campaign office in Ankeny.  Now, he is ramping up his Iowa web presence with a single goal – winning the Ames Straw Poll.

On Paul’s newly launched Iowa site, www.IowaForRonPaul.com, the campaign urges Iowans to sign up for the August 13 event and promises to bus supporters in from all corners of the state.  The campaign is also subsidizing tickets so supporters will only need to pay $10 a piece for their ride and a meal at the Ron Paul tent outside Hilton.  Of course, expect Paul to have the best entertainment in Ames.  Last time around, supporters held “RonStock,” as a musical tribute to our hero the night before, bringing in bands from around the country.  In 2008, however, Paul’s straw poll showing was driven purely by the grassroots.  While it was Romney who had cash to throw at his gray panthers to get them to and from the event in 2008, Paul’s legions paid their own way, made their own signs, and planned their own events.  Now with this announcement, Paul seems to be stepping up to the big leagues.

If he follows through on the effort, Paul might even have a shot to win.  Many observers expect Mitt Romney to take a pass on Iowa after spending millions in 2008 for his “silver medal.”  Mike Huckabee just announced that he’s sitting the race out, at least as a candidate, which will free up a lot of conservative voters who could vote their wallets this time around.  Newt Gingrich is a formidable candidate, but his far left views on the environment will win him more fans among GOP higher-ups than rank-and-file Straw Poll goers.  Mr. Bailout, Herman Cain is riding the wave of Fox News’ hype machine but he’s just hoping to God that no one Googles his name and learns about his record.  And Rick Santorum, well, please don’t Google his name for the love of all that’s holy.

While Paul will be renting buses, it seems, he’s not likely to hold the monopoly on transportation.  Our guess is that another candidate will be filling up Iowa’s supply of short buses.

 
 
 

IFA Action Alert – Scott County Fights Back Against “Sustainability” Agenda

From our friends at the Scott County IFA comes this action alert regarding the agenda of tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting.  The alert is excerpted below, please check out Iowans for Accountability’s website for details and background information:

Please attend the Thursday May 12th 5:30 p.m. Scott County Board of Supervisors Meeting & Budget Public Hearing

On the Agenda:
1. Standing Up To the UN Agenda 21 (aka Sustainability) in Scott County
2. $878,887 Budget Amendment

The Board will be voting to approve a Sustainability Plan without having made the Resolution public, and without having made the final draft of the plan available to the public.

(Watch this short 3 minute video of the Q&A at the Committee of the Whole from Tuesday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGPepo4lVyw )

The $878,887 budget increase, includes approximately $523,000 of offsetting grant revenues, however it also includes a $300,000 “Judgement paid for prof liability claim.”

County staff wants the board to decree that “Sustainability” is the “New Normal” for the citizens of Scott County. This is Agenda 21 being implemented in Scott County, folks. This is how it starts.
Of course we all want clean air and water for all.
Of course we want to leave our lands in better condition than we found them, for our children.
Of course we want equal protection for all.
Who doesn’t?!

But you should not have to have your personal property rights violated, nor cede more authority or influence governing the county’s fiscal policies to unelected central planners, nor direct the county to engage in more grant writing to pursue indoctrination and education programming to further efforts to “change behavior” for Scott County citizens.

 
 
 

Ron Paul Opens Iowa Office, Hires Staff

Congressman Ron Paul came to Ankeny yesterday to open the first office of his potential 2012 Presidential campaign.  The new office is not only the first in Iowa, but in the whole country, as part of Dr. Paul’s exploration of whether support exists to transform from an exploratory committee to a full campaign. Paul also announced the first hires on his Iowa staff.  Regrettably, Iowa Freedom Report wasn’t able to get a reporter to the press conference, so here’s a few links to others who covered the event:

WHO 13 News – watch the video of Dr. Paul’s press conference.

Kathie Obradovich – the Register reporter did the live tweets from the conference.

The Iowa Republican

The Iowa Republican also names the staffers Paul’s nascent campaign has hired.  In the interest of directing traffic to their site we won’t give you the full list, but their bios are heavy on experience in Rand Paul’s Senate campaign.  Only friend of the site Ani DeGroot, late of Young Americans for Liberty, is native to the site but two others have worked Iowa for Right-to-Work in past elections.  The five staffers are in addition to the triumvirate of Dr. Drew Ivers, David Fischer, and A.J. Spiker who were previously named as the co-chairs for Paul’s Iowa operation.

On the date of the South Carolina debate last week, Paul’s supporters kick-started the campaign with a $1 million money bomb.  Chatter on grassroots freedom sites points towards a more slow but steady donation strategy with multiple smaller fundraisers spread throughout the campaign rather than one or two big-money events late in the game. With Paul’s actions this week, it seems he is going to invest a good portion of that in the Iowa caucuses.

With a fat bankroll and an energetic staff in place, this puts pressure on Governor Gary Johnson to expand his Iowa operation if he intends to compete here.  If Johnson waits too long to staff up, Paul may snap up all the small government Republicans and be well on their way to turning out independents and anti-war Democrats before Johnson gets his hiking boots on the ground.

 
 
 

Vander Plaats Criticizes Straying from Principles, Proves Own Point

Perennial Republican candidate for governor Bob Vander Plaats lent his support to a tea party initiative in an unusual way Monday.  Tea party leader William Temple called the press conference called to bring attention to the upcoming vote on raising the federal debt ceiling.  For some reason, Vander Plaats, whose anti-gay organization receives taxpayer financing, was invited to to podium.  Once there, Vander Plaats refuted Temple’s suggestion to end corn ethanol subsidies as one example of unnecessary federal spending.  Vander Plaats called for a continuation of the program as part of what the Des Moines Register described as “federal policy [that] should support all forms of domestic energy.”  All, that is, except biofuels made from hemp, of course.

More problematic was Vander Plaats attempt to link the debt ceiling debate to his key issue – expressing his personal disgust for people who choose a different lifestyle than he does.  Vander Plaats claimed that one must embrace his view on this issue if the debt was going to be tackled.  Quoth Mr. Vander Plaats:  “I think it’s a ripple effect. When you start going away from core value issues the ripple effect leads right to economic issues as well.”  This of course is not a new sentiment.  As the country, and especially the Republican Party has seen waves of tea party activism in what some are calling “the Ron Paul moment,” bigots have had to re-invent themselves to link their cause to the calls for shrinking the government.  Obviously there is no reason a person must be straight to be a fiscal conservative, in fact it wouldn’t be hard to find gays who are much more conservative on economics than Vander Plaats or his former candidate Mike Huckabee.  Huckabee got called a lot of things in 2008 – “Tax Hike Mike”, “John Edwards with a Bible,” etc. – but fiscal conservative was not among them.  The Huck even devoted a section of his book to calling those who would reform Medicare a greater threat to America than even the dreaded liberals.

By declaring his support for Monsanto’s corporate welfare checks, Vander Plaats proves his own point.  If one is willing to compromise the principle of limited government in order to intervene in a person’s social life, it stands to reason that this person would also be more open to government intervening in a person’s economic life.  (This is not to defend gay-government marriage as currently constructed, the proper position on that is, as Ron Paul eloquently stated, “government should just be out of it.”)  But just maybe, now that Vander Plaats has come out of the closet as a fiscal liberal, perhaps he’s setting the stage for a more shocking disclosure to come.  I mean think about it, is any politician really that anti-gay?

 
 
 

Libertarians Highlight Growth, Seek Progress at 2011 Convention

The Libertarian Party of Iowa held their annual convention in Johnston Saturday, a cheerful affair in which party leaders were buoyed by rising membership and vote totals in 2010 along with a determination to strengthen the party in the future.  The convention also saw the first visit since 2004 by a Libertarian candidate for President (though Iowa native Bob Barr headed the ticket in 2008).

The convention kicked off with a guest speaker from the influential Republican group Strong America Now.  Gregg Cummings, who also is a point man for the Iowa Grassroots Coalition, gave a presentation on Strong America Now’s proposal to use the Lean Six Sigma business process to eliminate government waste.  Oddly, Cummings used an example wherein the process was used to ramp up production at a military contractor’s facility.  Libertarians could likely think of another way to trim the Defense budget – by eliminating unnecessary programs in their entirety.  Nonetheless, any program that would scale back the welfare/warfare state was welcomed by this group.

Special recognitions were give out to party candidates from the 2010 cycle.  Dr. Eric Cooper ran the most high-profile Libertarian campaign for governor in recent memory.  Dr. Cooper used his speech to appeal for more Libertarian candidates at all levels.  Having a presence across the state would help the top of the ticket secure the 2% needed for major party status, he noted.  Another statewide candidate was present, Jake Porter, whose 3% of the vote more than covered the difference in a tight race between Secretary of State Matt Schulz and former SecState Michael Mauro.  “The Democrats are mad at me,” Porter noted with a smirk.  Gary Sicard, who ran for Congress in CD-2 was the other candidate present.  In his speech, Sicard noted that he did not have the electoral showing he hoped for, but was glad to see tea parties picking up the freedom message.  Five other LP candidates were recognized by the chair but not present, including two from Johnson County who polled more than 20% in state legislative races.

After recognizing the state candidates, Libertarians gave the floor to their potential 2012 Presidential candidates.  There are currently 4 known candidates actively seeking the LP nomination, while a fifth is likely to jump in the race after completing him tour of duty as an Army officer.  Texas businessman Roger Gary addressed Iowa Libertarians while writer R. Lee Wrights was represented by his campaign co-managers.  Gary spoke on the need for Libertarian campaigns to start early, expressing his displeasure with the past nominee Congressman Barr, who did not start his campaign until shortly before the national convention.  He made ballot access a focus, expressing his willingness to help get on the ballot in Iowa but making it clear he would step aside and support the party nominee if he did not win his race.  Iowa neighbor Julie Fox presented the case for Lee Wrights, who is building his campaign on the theme of “stop all wars.”  Fox suggested that this message will win votes from outside the party, as all Americans are tiring of the wars.  Campaign manager Thomas Hill added that he didn’t envy Iowans subjected to the campaigns of Republican caucus candidates.  He noted that while Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have a good message, the Republican campaign will be rigged against them and only a Libertarian Party candidate can carry the banner for the movement.  He also mentioned ballot access.  Wrights’ campaign has pledged to donate 10% of its funds to state ballot access efforts.  Hill proudly reported that the first such donation had recently help the LP of Arkansas secure its place on the 2012 ballot, a difficult task that had caused several previous LP contenders to be listed as “independent.”

After a lunch break, party chairman Ed Wright gave a talk on the condition of the party.  He noted the increased media presence and vote totals for the candidates as well as a 50% increase in the number of registered Libertarians.  Along with the good news, he presented the challenge to reach out to newly registered Libertarians to get more candidates and volunteers for the party.

Taking that challenge will be the party officials elected at the business meeting in the afternoon.  Wright was re-elected as chair with Dr. Eric Cooper and Republic Now founder Brandon Echols as his deputies.  Dr. Cooper pledged to use his position to recruit candidates and seek more media attention for the issue of ballot access.  Echols said he would continue his focus of putting “boots on the ground” for the LP.  With the new districts came a new Executive Committee.  Gary Sicard moves to CD-1 with the shifting of the lines, while former State Senate candidate Dr. Chris Peters will take over as the CD-2 representative.  Casey Head, who leads the Des Moines chapter of Liberty on the Rocks, will represent CD-3.  Head recounted his experience working on a Republican congressional campaign and expressed his disappointment that a Libertarian challenger to Leonard Boswell did not emerge, a situation he promised to rectify for the coming election.  Lynn Gentry is the new CD-4 rep.

The day concluded with the new executive committee meeting as Iowa Freedom Report conducted an interview with Mr. Gary.  We’ll be publishing our full interview very soon as well as making a major announcement regarding future interviews with other Presidential candidates, so stay tuned.  In case you missed it, a live tweet of the proceedings is available at our twitter page, @IAFreedomReport so please follow along.

 
 
 

Two Freedom Events in Des Moines Tomorrow!

Advocates for limited government have two excellent events to participate in tomorrow, Saturday May 7th.

Iowa’s version of the Worldwide Marijuana March will be held downtown beginning at 11:20 am.  There will be a meeting at City Hall followed by the march itself culminating in the Iowa Hemp Freedom Rally on the steps of the Capitol.  Many prominent members of the medical freedom community will speak including litigant Carl Olsen of Iowans for Medical Marijuana, advocate/patient Ray Lakers, and Gary Johnson 2012 staffer Jimmy Morrison of Iowa Patients.

For those interested in the Libertarian Party, they will have their annual convention at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston.  Registration opens at 8am and business sessions begin at 9.  Of course, as any freedom advocate will tell you – “TANSTAFL - There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”  For this convention, $35 at the door will cover your lunch and rental of the hall.  Iowa Freedom Report has learned that Presidential candidate Roger Gary will speak to the assembled delegates.  Iowa Freedom Report will be on scene providing full coverage of the proceedings.  Provided that the HGI has free wi-fi, we will also be doing our first live twitter coverage on @IAFreedomReport.